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Research Experience Placements

The Research Experience Placements (REPs) scheme provides support for undergraduate summer research placements.

Please note that students wanting to apply for a REP should contact the research organisation at which they wish to take a placement. Students may not apply directly to BBSRC.


  • To give promising undergraduates a first-hand opportunity to gain greater experience of research in the biosciences
  • To raise the profile of research careers amongst undergraduate students
  • To interest students in postgraduate research in strategically important areas for BBSRC

Allocation of REPs 2015

REPs are allocated to lead research organisations in receipt of a Doctoral Training Partnership award for use across the departments/institutions included within the Partnership, as well as to the seven UK veterinary research departments. Students are not able to apply to BBSRC directly for a REP. Around 100 placements are available per year. Details of the allocation of REPs for 2015 are shown in the table below.

Summary of studentship allocations 2015

Research organisation Allocation
Imperial College (Royal Holloway, MRC Centre Harwell ) 5
John Innes Centre (IFR, TGAC, UEA) 5
Newcastle University (Durham, Liverpool) 5
University College London (Birkbeck, KCL, LSHTP, RVC) 6
University of Bristol (Bath, Exeter, Rothamsted) 5
University of Cambridge (Animal Health Trust, Babraham, EMBL – EBI, National Institute of Agricultural Botany, The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute) 7
University of Edinburgh (Aberdeen, Dundee, St Andrews) 9
University of Glasgow (Strathclyde) 4
University of Leeds (Sheffield, York) 7
University of Manchester 8
University of Nottingham (Rothamsted) 7
University of Oxford 4
University of Reading (Lancaster, Rothamsted, Southampton, Surrey) 2
University of Warwick (Birmingham, Leicester, MRC Toxicology Unit) 5
Royal Veterinary College, Veterinary Basic Sciences - London 3
University of Bristol, Clinical Veterinary Science 3
University of Cambridge, Veterinary Science 3
University of Edinburgh, Centre for Infectious Diseases - Vet Med 3
University of Glasgow, School of Veterinary Medicine 3
University of Liverpool, Faculty of Veterinary Science 3
University of Nottingham, Sch of Veterinary Medicine and Science 3

Further details

Full details of the scheme are provided in the downloads section. This includes information about:

  • Responsibilities of the awarding department/institution
  • Eligibility of students
  • Duration
  • Support costs
  • Reporting and payments
  • Research projects

Case study

Stephen Mansbridge completed a REP whilst studying at Harper Adams University College. He worked with 45 sows and 96 growing pigs on the University College’s farm in Shropshire to investigate how much straw bedding pigs eat and how this affects their digestion.

Image: Harper Adams University College
Image: Harper Adams University College

"I’ve really enjoyed the BBSRC placement" said Steve. "Since completing my final year dissertation during my degree in agriculture, I’ve realised that I have a passion for research.

As part of his eight week placement Steve conducted a three week project on pig nutrition; investigating how much straw bedding is eaten by pigs housed in pens and how this affects their digestion.

He explains: "Straw is known to speed up the transit of feed through the digestive system and in turn, reduces the amount of nutrients available to the pig. This means that in theory, you need to provide the pigs with more feed which is expensive and could be used elsewhere.

Steve is now planning to start a PhD at Harper Adams to continue with a similar project on pig nutrition.

He continues "Thanks to the placement I’ve learnt a lot about pig nutrition, health, behaviour and welfare. Hopefully this research will help us to find a solution that considers both productivity and pig welfare".

To hear more about Steve's placement, watch a video on the Harper Adams University College website.